The Writer's Life

Postcard of My Life


Writing at 6.00 am and I suddenly need reminding of the coldest of cold for this scene. I want to hear another writer’s description, what they chose to pick out among the myriad of details available.

Normally easy: I’d rush upstairs and retrieve Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams from my bookshelves. Lopez is a writer I return to for any reason at all, and Arctic Dreams remains among my favourites. It’s an enchanting exploration of the arctic.

But my husband isn’t feeling well and, even though he’s the reason I was up at 5.30am, fetching a hot drink and some painkillers for his sore throat, I’ll be damned if I will wake him. So instead, I read what I can of Lopez’s stunning book off the Amazon “Look Inside” feature. I get about six pages of it with Amazon, mostly about whaling.

However, even within six pages, I am reminded of the rest of the book, and of Lopez’s means of weaving story and discovery, of the place and people he describes, of the history that has been.  I feel the cold now; can write about it, and I’m where I need to be to continue my own chapter.

Something about this situation — it’s odd hour, my earnest efforts, the make-do nature of everything despite having what anyone would describe as abundance — is kind of what my life is like, but in miniature.



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